Triana (Summer of Yesterday, 2014, etc.) takes inspiration from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in this horror-tinged YA novel.
Six years ago, Micaela Burgos left Sleepy Hollow, New York, and moved to Miami with her father, leaving her mother behind with her creepy doll collection and obsession with the village’s most famous inhabitant, Washington Irving. Her mother always told Micaela that they were descended from Irving—but everyone knows he had no children, and how would Mami’s Cuban parents be related to him anyway? After years of little contact, Micaela, now a senior in high school, receives a letter from her mother, saying only, “Lela, please come home. It’s urgent.” By the time Micaela heeds the summons, Mami is dead, apparently of a fall in the bathtub. But the teen keeps having dreams about a ghostly woman who’s somehow familiar. As Micaela tries to learn what her mother wanted from her, she finds herself attracted to two very different boys: childhood friend Bram Derant, a member of one of the town’s oldest families, and Dane Boracich, a skinny graduate student trying to prove that Irving had a child after all, the result of an affair with the widowed Mary Shelley. Both of the boys warn her not to trust the other—and neither of them is telling her the whole truth. As forces ghostly and mundane work to isolate Micaela, can she find the strength to stand on her own—and fulfill her mother’s mission? In this page-turning, eerie novel, the author skillfully builds an air of quiet menace, where “pumpkins sit on front porches like families gathered in the dark, telling ghost stories.” The book’s action scenes echo the rhythms of hoofbeats, and the reader’s pulse should pound along with Micaela’s. It’s indeed ambitious to write a horror story involving Irving and Shelley, titans of the genre; luckily, Triana turns out to be up to the challenge, with a smart, unusual take on the true legend of Sleepy Hollow.
A spooky and satisfying literary mystery that features two celebrated authors.